Friday, March 1, 2019

Rabbit Trails Through the Bible

Wait - where does that trail lead???
Sometimes, when I read the Bible - okay, often, when I read the Bible - I get sidetracked. Not by things around me or by things I need to do, but by something I read in the Word. A particular word or phrase will catch my attention and set me on a rabbit trail through the Bible, searching for other incidences of the word or phrase. I usually find myself knee-deep in the Strong's Concordance looking up Hebrew and Greek words and their meanings, to further understand God's Word.

That happened this morning, but about the time I realized I was on a rabbit trail, the Lord whispered to my heart, "You only think you got sidetracked and wandered down this path. What you didn't realize was that I took you by the hand and led you in this direction because I have something I want to show you."

How cool is that?

This morning, as I was reading about the Transfiguration of Jesus in Luke 9:28-36, the word "transformed" caught my attention. I looked it up in Strong's and discovered that it is only used 3 times in the King James version of the Bible. (Strong's Concordance is an index of every word found in the King James version, with links to and definition of the original Greek and Hebrew words.)

First, I was struck by the fact that it was while Jesus was praying that the Transfiguration took place and I realized that prayer has the power to transform us, too. Then I wondered what the definition of transfiguration is. (Hold on, I'm taking you down the rabbit trail with me.)

Definition of transfiguration - a change in form or appearance, metamorphosis, an exalting, glorifying or spiritual change

Here's the verse that describes what happened to Jesus as he prayed:
"About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning." Luke 9:28-29
This reminded me of the story of Moses in the Old Testament 

"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord." Exodus 34:29  
(Do yourself a favor and read a little more about this incident - Exodus 34:29-35).
So, what happened when Moses spoke with the Lord? His appearance change. He glowed with the radiance of the glory of God.

Did you read the rest of the story? If so, you know about the veil. (Nope, I'm not going to explain it here. You will have to read it for yourself.)  It reminded me of another phrase in the New Testament when Paul writes...

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate (Or reflect) the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18
What? Unveiled faces reflecting God's glory and there's that word transformed again, but this time it says transformed into his (Jesus) image with ever-increasing glory.

Back to Strong's Concordance and the definition of the original Greek word for "transformed." There are two words for transformed in the original Greek...

The first is metamorphoō: to transform (literally or figuratively, "metamorphose"):—change, transfigure, transform

The second translation of the word transformed, metaschēmatizō, is found in this passage...

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

What? Satan is transformed, just like Jesus, Moses and believers are transformed? No! Upon further digging, I discovered that the definition of the word used in this passage has a critically different meaning, for this compound word is made up of two words, one of which is defined as...
to transfigure or disguise; figuratively, to apply (by accommodation):—transfer, transform (self).
Did you catch the difference? Disguise. Transform self.

Check out 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 in the New International Version.

"For such people are false apostles,deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."
This version uses the word masquerade in place of transformed, because it accurately shows that Satan and those who follow him are trying to pass themselves off as being equal to those of us who have been transformed by the glory and Spirit of God.

In conclusion (did I just hear you sigh in relief?), let me leave you with a verse from the NIV...
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
My friends, we, too, can be transformed - through prayer, through refusing to conform to the patterns of this world, by allowing God to renew our minds through the reading of His word and by allowing His glory to penetrate our heart and minds and spirits, until we shine like Jesus, like Moses, like the early believers, reflecting the glory of God.

So, that's my rabbit trail through the Bible this morning. I hope I didn't lose you along the way and that God has led you, along with me to the realization that He was leading us all along, so that we might have a deep-seated desire to be transformed into the image of Christ. I am praying for you, dear reader, that God will do amazing things in your life as you surrender yourself to the transformation process.

Blessing to you, my friends.

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May my words outlive me. said...

What an amazing “rabbit trail” adventure full of so much knowledge and profound truth.

Jan Christiansen said...

Thank you, Leola. I don't think the Bible has ever been more intriguing for me than it is at this point in my life. The more I study, the more I want to share the amazing things I learn. Thank God for the blogging platform!

Karen Kordon said...

There is freedom in the surrender and then transformation. Freedom from the chains our enemy so craftedly tries to link into our thoughts. Freedom to walk sure & steady, knowing we have been renewed! Thank you for sharing your heart & renewed mind!

Jan Christiansen said...

And thank you, Karen, for sharing your additional insights. Walk on, Sister!

Unknown said...

Oh Jan how I love and appreciate your wisdom... <3

Jan Christiansen said...

Thank you so much! Wish I knew who you are so I could thank you personally. I appreciate every one of my readers - especially when they leave a note to let me know they dropped by. :)